Monday, September 22, 2014

Wknd Box Office: The Guest, A Walk Among the Tombstones, The Maze Runner, This Is Where I Leave You, My Old Lady

Here is an interesting article from reviewing some of the movies that came out over the past weekend. This follows this post about some of the movies from last week and THIS POST about some movies that have been released over the past few years that you might have missed! This all follows this post about guidelines to choosing good movies to watch yourself!

Wknd Box Office: The Guest, A Walk Among the Tombstones, The Maze Runner, This Is Where I Leave You, My Old Lady

By Debbie Schlussel
Two movies I liked among the new offerings in theaters today (I did not see “Tusk”–sorry):



* “The Guest“: I very much enjoyed this movie until almost the end when it devolves into a little silliness and anti-government baloney. The movie is almost a parody of 1980s and late 1970s thrillers, complete with a 1980s soundtrack and background music reminiscent of the movies of that era. The movie is ironic, funny, and very kitschy and campy (for instance, the family in the movie has the world’s biggest collection of Halloween pumpkins). British actor Dan Stevens (of “Downton Abbey” fame) does a great American accent as the mysterious star of the film.
The story: Stevens arrives at the home of a family grieving the death of their son/brother, a soldier in Iraq who was killed there. Stevens says he was in the son’s unit, and that the son wanted him to tell the family how much he loved them. So he came to town to tell them. They believe the story because Stevens is in the photo of the son’s unit in Iraq. Soon, Stevens has insinuated himself into the family, beating up the football players who terrorize the younger son, and helping the family in other ways. But mysterious things begin happening, and people are found dead. Can’t say more, but that I enjoyed the ride, until we find out who he is and why he is doing these things. I didn’t like that anti-government aspect of it. But I did like the ending.
Especially if you grew up in the ’70s and ’80s–as I did–you’ll like this. Fun and entertaining (but probably not a good match for people over 50 or 55). For us chicks, Stevens looks very hot in this movie (nothing like in the staid “Downton Abbey”), and there is a retro-style, gratuitous shirtless scene in the movie that is spot-on ’80s cheesy. Sorry, guys.

* “A Walk Among the Tombstones“: Although I dislike Liam Neeson since he became an Islamo-pandering blithering idiot (and said he wanted to convert to this cult of death), I mostly liked this movie. I disliked and always abhor the torture porn aspect of it, although that isn’t shown so much as heard (in sound bites of descriptions and screaming). Still, the movie is suspenseful, full of action and surprises, and it’s definitely thrilling. It’s quite violent, and so I wouldn’t take kids to see it (plus the language). And I was surprised in this day and age of political uber-correctness that Hollywood allowed the plotline–of two gay lovers being the serial killer villains in this–to go forward. And, no, that needed no spoiler alert as it doesn’t take anything away from your suspense, surprise, and thrills.
Neeson is a retired New York cop who is also a recovering alcoholic. He quit the force after killing two murderers and wounding the third, all while he was drunk and on the job. He’s now a private investigator, and he’s hired by a drug dealer (Dan Stevens–yup, same guy as in “The Guest” in the review above), to find out who killed the drug dealer’s wife. During the course of his investigation, Neeson attends AA meetings and meets a smart Black homeless kid (stock magical Black friend character–check, check, check!) who helps him figure out the internet (as if a PI today wouldn’t know how to navigate it himself).
The movie is quite creepy, but in a thrilling, suspenseful creepitude. And that makes a movie like this work.
While there is stark evil in this movie (and some semi-good), Neeson doesn’t fantasize about for whom he’s working. He dislikes and at first refuses working for a drug dealer. But he pursues justice anyway. And the bad guys get theirs in the end–always the best part of a movie like this.
Neeson is successful as an aging action hero while Stallone and Schwarzenegger look well beyond retirement. This movie is Exhibit A of that.

* “The Maze Runner“: I struggled to stay awake during this absolute bore. It’s yet another “dystopian youth struggle” brought to film from a successful Young Adult series of novels. Yaaaaawn. How many of these are they gonna make? Next!
The story: teens, whose memories of their lives on earth are erased, are shipped to a place in the middle of nowhere. They must survive on the land and avoid being caught at night in the maze that surrounds it. The teens designated to try to learn the maze are known as “The Runners.” But even they stay away from the maze at night because you get chased and killed by giant computerized spiders, and the maze changes and crushes you to death. The movie centers on one teen male sent to this place, who defies the odds and bests the maze, and how he uses this feat to fight off rivals and try to help everyone escape. Yup, boring (and very repetitive), but the stage is already set for the sequels. Mega-caffeine shots, please!
Snore-fest galore.

* “This is Where I Leave You“: Oy gevalt. This movie isn’t in 3D but it does have the Three Ds–dumb, dopey, and dimwitted.
I hated every single person in this absolutely awful waste of time, especially Hanoi Jane Fonda, who talks endlessly about sex and penises and has a prolongued lesbian kiss in this movie. Please, make it stop. All of the people in this movie, including the “rabbi,” remind me why I hate most Reformed Jews so much. They know zilch about Judaism, they smoke pot and sleep around, and they just make me sick. And that’s pretty much every spoiled, self-centered character in this movie. The Reformed synagogue (temple) scene is spot on. Nobody knows any prayers or Hebrew words, and they pretend to mouth the words of a Hebrew hippie song while a lesbian-looking “cantor”-ette in a yarmulke strums guitar. Then, a bunch of ‘em sneak out to smoke pot and set off the smoke alarms sprinklers.
The story: four neurotic, annnoying siblings (none of whom looks anything alike or related in the least) and their equally neurotic, annoying spouses get together to “sit shiva” (Jewish mourning) for their late father, a Jewish atheist. Their mother, Fonda–an annoying, sex-obsessed therapist–is not Jewish and has new fake boobs. Yes, these kids really aren’t Jewish, but welcome to Reform “Judaism.” They sit, whine, smoke pot, get into dumb melodrama, sleep around, and otherwise fill two wasted hours of your time you’ll never ever get back. The thing is: they sit for seven days, when most Conservative and Reform Jews barely mourn a day or two, so the movie wasn’t accurate (only Orthodox Jews actually do the required seven days of “shiva”).
The main character is Jason Bateman, who discovers his wife cheated on him for a year with his boss. He’s the only “decent,” “normal” person in this movie. He reconnects with an old flame who is still in love with him. His sister fights with her husband and reconnects with her former flame who had a brain injury. Bateman’s other ex-girlfriend is married to one of his brothers, and she is hitting on Bateman and tries to sleep with him. Bateman’s younger brother is a spoiled brat who is engaged to an older, rich woman. Oh, and mom, Jane Fonda, is a lesbian.
Not that I cared about any of this. Again, I hated these people and wondered why I got stuck watching their stupid reality show. Don’t pay to repeat my mistake (and that’s aside from avoiding giving a penny to that America-hating plastic surgery victim hag, Hanoi Jane). Skip this like the plague. You know every crazy, excessively dysfuncational character in this crappy movie voted for Obama and so did the real-life actors who played them. Wish I could have sent a squad of ISIS terrorists in to take care of these people.
For you, “This Is Where I Leave You” should literally be the point far before you contemplate heading to the theater. Leave this before buying a ticket. Anyone who’d wanna see this is a sado-masochist. High-quality Gitmo torture material.

* “My Old Lady“: Not sure what the point of this was. It was long, slow, and boring.
The story: Kevin Kline is a washed up thrice-divorced man in his ’60s with no money and nothing to show for his life. His father died and left him a valuable apartment in Paris, which he visits in the hopes of selling it and making some money to better his financial position and pay his debts. But he learns that the apartment was bought by his father in a weird arrangement in which the 90-something-year-old woman living in it gets to live there for life. And he can only sell it with that proviso, making it far less valuable. The woman allows him to move in and rent a room, and he bickers with the woman’s daughter who also lives there. But, then, predictably, they fall in love. However, at this point, he already knows that the 90-something chick was his father’s lover and he wonders if the woman he’s sleeping with is really his half-sister. Not that there’s much wonder in that, as the question is quickly answered right after it’s raised. Um, shouldn’t the DNA test come BEFORE you sleep with a woman who might be your sis? Just askin’.
Yup, “charming” story. Who cares? I didn’t.

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